David Frum: I'm Smarter than Ron Paul. Boettke: You CANNOT be Serious
David Frum is is trying to be cool . Yep, he sees other yawning beltway insiders taking silly pokes at Ron Paul that look like they took about 5 minutes of research....from reading other such pieces...and decides to join the fun. After all, other pundits are doing it, right?
Well, some people took notice of Frum's foppishness.
First, Tom Woods has a short piece called David Frum: I'm Smarter than Ron Paul
Ron Paul "is best known for his vehemently isolationist foreign policy views," says David Frum, an adviser to another presidential candidate. (So free trade, diplomacy, and opposition to sanctions and embargoes make you an "isolationist" -- funny that Richard Cobden was called "the International Man" for holding exactly the same views.)
Then, Frum, the economic nothing that he is, spews some pathetically inaccurate economic critiques calling Paul's views "self-taught" and that they went against everything we know from Modern economists from Marshall to Friedman. Perhaps Frum could tell what that is and how the works of Mises, which Paul has read, fit into the picture.
Geez, even Ronald Reagan had nice things to say about Ludwig von Mises. I wonder how much Mises Frum has read, or what he can tell us about Austrian business cycle theory. Oh, wait, I already know the answer.
Of course, speaking of economics, Friedman, Mises et al, let's just ask economist, Dr. Peter Boettke, who, though surely critical of Paul on some social issues, had this to say to Frum:
Responding to the same economic/historical drivel from Frum on Paul having "self-taught" views that oppose Marshall and Friedman, Boettke wrote a truly excellent piece on the whole matter covering Friedman, Gold, Inflation and general Monetary concerns. You don't need to be an economist or anything like it to appreciate and understand the article. I highly recommend reading it.
let the record be clear --- Milton Friedman was a critic of discretionary monetary policy, he advocated a monetary rule, and in later life became increasingly concerned with public choice problems in following the monetary rule. He suggested that a computer run monetary policy at one point to take the human element out of it, and he also had favorable things to say about alternative banking regimes. In addition, his critique of the gold standard was not as vociferous as some would have you believe. He argued that the costs of the gold standard were too great. (see Roger Garrison's piece on this) However, he did admit that the gold standard had served as a useful check on inflation for many years.
He mentions a now legendary EconTalk Poscast with Friedman. It's probably the last one he did. There's a another part to the interview elsewhere on the site.
Boettke goes to explain Friedman's criticism of the Gold Standard and how it's not as vociferous or absolute as some (like Frum) would have you believe. Of course, it must be noted that Paul isn't pushing for a pure Gold Standard. But that doesn't seem to matter to pundits looking for clever things to say. But anyway...
Friedman was very clear on a Gold Standard's check on inflation, which is the real concern here. He notes Friedman's praise of "inflation targeting" strategies adopted by the New Zealand central banker Don Brash .
Friedman and the gold standard advocates share a fundamental bond ---- inflation is destructive to an economy and ultimately to a civilization. Good policy must fight inflation.
He then states Friedman's facts on inflation and they match the views of Paul and others quite well...except maybe Frum..
Pundits like Frum believe that economic policy can be designed to avoid the unpleasant side effects of previous policy errors. But there isn't any silver bullet here to provide a quick and easy fix to decades of monetary irresponsibility. As I said before, we don't need government intervention, we need market correction.
Of course, any economist would agree with that though some will disagree on how that correction can come about. But that's another matter.
Milton Friedman said, we have been misled by false teaching in economics to believe that there is a trade-off between inflation and unemployment. This dichotomy is false.
Yes, I'm sure that Frum is aware of all this and more(snark). Paul is.(no snark whatsoever)
From here, Boettke goes on a very quick yet enriching tour de force on monetary policy principles from Nobel Prize winners like Friedman and Hayek. It's a great read.
Playing the policy game of always pushing off market corrections through easy money, is as Hayek warned like holding a 'tiger by the tail'.
Right at the time that David Frum is ridiculing Ron Paul's for holding economic ideas that have been rejected from the time of Marshall to Friedman, we learn that the European Central Bank is injecting $500 billion into the banking system to ease the market corrections that must result from the previous credit expansion. That tiger is getting awful hard to hang on to!!!
Yep. This fits in well with the "It's the Monetary, Stupid" pieces I've humbly submitted to convey a very brief peek into this world...a world I'm still trying to understand all the time....a world that Paul and especially Boettke both understand much better than me....and that's a lot more than we can say for Frum apparently.
Even Hayek saw the value of some commodity backing as viable alternative as a check on human arrogance, hubris and error.
The 'self-taught' economics of Ron Paul (whatever other problems I might have with him and his presentation of these ideas) is grounded in sound scientific economics. An understanding of the logic of human action, the coordinating capacity of the market economy, the problems with bureaucracy, the special pleading of interest groups, and the destructive capacity of inflation are fundamental to his economic policy message. I hope my students learn those lessons from reading Adam Smith, David Hume, J. B. Say, F. A. Hayek, and James Buchanan. None of these names are on the 'crackpot' list of economists....[Mises's] work, more than any other 20th century economist, has all those arguments integrated into it and presented in a coherent and comprehensive manner. Mises was not a crackpot, but perhaps the most insightful economic thinker in the world at a time when the world itself was upside down.
No, they are not. Considering Paul has pictures of Hayek and Mises on his office wall and is as steeped in economic reading as any non-economist can be, Frum's ridicule of Paul looks all the more ridiculous.